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Chambourcin Recipe


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#1 nickfox45

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 03:39 PM

I'm on the verge (within a few days) of helping a friend harvest some chambourcin grapes from his small vineyard. I have some experience with fruit wines, but little with grapes. I've found a recipe online at http://winemaking.ja.../request194.asp, a site which I know many people here regard very highly.

I have a few questions about the directions in the recipe above. I'm new to malolactic fermentation, but after reading about it, it seems easy enough. Is there anything special I should know about it, or should it just be treated like regular yeast fermentation?

Am I correct that, in addition to the ingredients, I would need a way to test acidity, sulfites, and the level of MLF? I'm not sure what paper chromatography is, I'm assuming it's just a fancy way of saying those little paper slips that come in standard test kits?

Lastly, I read that for MLF to occur, the wine should be low in sulfites, but the recipe calls for adding potassium metabisulfide. What gives?

Thanks!

#2 tom sawyer

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 04:10 PM

Its not metabisulfitde, its metabisulfite. And yes you add some initially, and during fermentation it gases off and gets used up, at least down to a low level that ML bacteria can handle (under 10ppm I think).

I would strongly urge you to get Pambianchi's book on winemaking. It has much more detail on all aspects of winemaking. Keller is great but his forte is in making a basic wine from anything, not the kind of specifics you want when making wine from fresh grapes. Then again I haven't seen his Chambourcin wine recipe.

I have enjoyed Chambourcin wines from my area. As a robust red, I would consider a cold soak and the use of a good pectic enzyme like Lallzyme Colorpro, Optired (a yeast nutrient) and Laffort VR Supra (a color-stabilizing tannin) to stabilize the color and body of the wine, a proper yeast for Chambourcin, and a good malo-lactic culture along with an ML nutrient.

Paper chromatography is just a piece of special paper and a solvent system that separates the different organic acids malate and lactate, and a means of coloring them in order to see their concentration. I may or may not get this testing kit, I might just rely on time and decent cultures to do the job in a "normal" amount of time.

You'll definitely need to measure both pH and totoal acidity, which are related but not the same. You want a pH in the 3.3-3.6 range, and TA in the 0.5-0.7% range. Total acidity is tested using a simple and inexpensive titration kit. pH can be done with pH paper but with red wine the color poses a problem, you really ought to get a pH pen and calibration buffers at a minimum.

Good luck, I really like Chambourcin wines from Missouri. I consider something like a merlot, with the Norton in this area beign more like Cab Sauv.

PS I'm new to this but other more experienced people will be along to tell you how full of it I am.

Lennie


Fermenting: 
Barreled: Sangiovese, Norton, Chambourcin

Carboys:  Cayuga, Traminette


#3 tom sawyer

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 04:17 PM

I glanced through Keller's recipe and its sound although doesn't have much detail. Your 75lb of grapes is likely to make 5gal of wine depending on how hard you press. The oak powder is also a good idea for the primary from what I understand, I forgot to mention about that. It may have some similarity to the VR Supra tannin product I mentioned. You want plenty of tannin to bind with the anthocyanin (pigment) as it comes out of the skins when the pectic enzyme breaks down the cell walls and liberates it into solution.

I'd definitely look at other yeasts to see what might enahance the kind of characteristics you like in a Chambourcin. There are yeasts that enhance fruitiness, others that accentuate a tannic backbone, etc. I dont know if there are specific recommendations for Chambourcin (look at Morewine.com for their pdf file on wine yeast/varietal pairings), if I had to pick a yeast for Chambourcin I'd go with somethign that worked for Zinfandel or merlot. Maybe Syrah yeast, or BDX or something along those lines. The Red Star Premeir Cuvee or EC1118 are sure-fire but neutral, they ferment completely but don't add much to flavor. If you can ferment two or more batches, try using a couple of yeasts and then blend when you press.

Lennie


Fermenting: 
Barreled: Sangiovese, Norton, Chambourcin

Carboys:  Cayuga, Traminette


#4 nickfox45

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 05:25 PM

Thanks, I'll see what sort of products I can find at the local homebrew store. I wish I wasn't so rushed, but the deer are chowing down on my friend's grapes and if we wait too much longer, there won't be anything left!

#5 tom sawyer

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 06:25 PM

I have a friend with a vinyard and the turkeys and deer always hit him hard too. Even if you just have the products Keller calls for, I think you'll come out with decent wine. You want to check your pH and total acidity, seems like a lot of grapes grown in cool climates are high acid. You might be needing to make an adjustment there to get your wine into the range for stability.

If you have a lot of green seeds, you'll want to rack the must off those (they'll sink to the bottom) fairly early in the ferment or you'll get a herbaceous character.

Good luck with your harvesting and winemaking efforts. Sorry if I over-analyzed your situation, I'm psyching myself up for my first grape wine foray.

Lennie


Fermenting: 
Barreled: Sangiovese, Norton, Chambourcin

Carboys:  Cayuga, Traminette


#6 nickfox45

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 08:15 PM

QUOTE (tom sawyer @ Aug 18 2009, 08:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Good luck with your harvesting and winemaking efforts. Sorry if I over-analyzed your situation, I'm psyching myself up for my first grape wine foray.


No need to apologize, that's exactly the type of insight I was hoping for.

#7 nickfox45

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 05:17 AM

QUOTE
As a robust red, I would consider a cold soak ...


How long would you soak for? Just overnight, or as much as 24 hours? What are the benefits of doing this, and how "cold" is cold?

#8 Bill Frazier

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:44 AM

"You want to check your pH and total acidity, seems like a lot of grapes grown in cool climates are high acid."

This is good advise. You say you will harvest in a few days. I know your growing conditions are different from mine in Kansas but yesterday my Chambourcin tested at 16.6 brix, 2.96 pH and 1.38%TA. It would be impossible to make drinkable wine from these Chambourcin grapes. I have no plans to harvest until acid is between 0.7 and 0.8%TA.
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#9 tom sawyer

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 11:29 AM

I think you can cold soak a red for as long as three days. I don't have my reference in front of me so I'm going from what I recall reading on this site. It really depends on what you want your final product to be. If you like the tannin and are willing to age it longer to get it tamed down, then you do those things that help liberate and fix the tannin and color.

Lennie


Fermenting: 
Barreled: Sangiovese, Norton, Chambourcin

Carboys:  Cayuga, Traminette


#10 nickfox45

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 02:18 PM

QUOTE (Bill Frazier @ Aug 19 2009, 09:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"You want to check your pH and total acidity, seems like a lot of grapes grown in cool climates are high acid."

This is good advise. You say you will harvest in a few days. I know your growing conditions are different from mine in Kansas but yesterday my Chambourcin tested at 16.6 brix, 2.96 pH and 1.38%TA. It would be impossible to make drinkable wine from these Chambourcin grapes. I have no plans to harvest until acid is between 0.7 and 0.8%TA.


You might be right. The issue at hand is that we're looking at making some wine (and maybe it's not that good) or making no wine (and watching deer have full stomachs).


#11 bigadamsoy

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 03:31 PM

QUOTE (nickfox45 @ Aug 19 2009, 03:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You might be right. The issue at hand is that we're looking at making some wine (and maybe it's not that good) or making no wine (and watching deer have full stomachs).


well, there's always rose'
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#12 nickfox45

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 07:32 PM

QUOTE (bigadamsoy @ Aug 19 2009, 06:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
well, there's always rose'


I'm not following you. What are you suggesting?

#13 nickfox45

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 07:51 PM

Update: Tonight we harvested and destemmed by hand, and did the crush into a 6 gallon fermentation bucket. A couple problems though... it's only half full.

I want to measure the sugar level to see if I need to make any additions, but because I only have a basic hydrometer, I'm not sure I'll get an accurate reading because the hydrometer is so tall and there are so many skins.

Any thoughts on this? Will the skins being there affect getting a good reading? Obviously I want to find out what sugar I need to add before pitching the yeast tomorrow.

#14 tom sawyer

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 08:23 PM

Half full is no problem, you want plenty of head space for the foaming action and punching don the skins anyway. You have 3gal of must so you'll be winding up with half of that as wine.

Since you only have a hydrometer, take the reading as best you can and see what it is. You might try squeezing some grapes and geteting enough juice to test in your hydro jar, it only takes a cup or so. You can pour it back in. Hopefully you won't need to add sugar at all, if its 1.085 or better you should be set.

I think the suggestion was to make a rose by squeezing the grapes right away. If they aren't good and ripe the skins will be green by the stem, and they'll taste somewhat astringent in addition to the tannin. Are the seeds brown, and the skins fully red? How do the grapes taste? These things tell you qualitatively about your fruit.

Good luck.


Lennie


Fermenting: 
Barreled: Sangiovese, Norton, Chambourcin

Carboys:  Cayuga, Traminette


#15 dagobob

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 07:13 AM

QUOTE (nickfox45 @ Aug 20 2009, 09:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Update: Tonight we harvested and destemmed by hand, and did the crush into a 6 gallon fermentation bucket. A couple problems though... it's only half full.

I want to measure the sugar level to see if I need to make any additions, but because I only have a basic hydrometer, I'm not sure I'll get an accurate reading because the hydrometer is so tall and there are so many skins.

Any thoughts on this? Will the skins being there affect getting a good reading? Obviously I want to find out what sugar I need to add before pitching the yeast tomorrow.

push a colander down into the bucket, or take a couple of scoops out and put into a colander; either way, measure the gravity with the strained liquid (without skins and seeds). Now would be a good time to take an acid reading. Don't be too alarmed at high acidity; as long as the seeds are brown:
- If TA > 1.3 then add about 15% water; but no more than that!!
- use 71B yeast that will bring the TA down considerably.
- add some Stavin Oak beans during fermentation; that will help tame tannins, but NOT too much !!
- add some Optired during fermentation for color extraction
- add MLF at the end of fermentation; (remembering NOT to ADD any K-meta at this tim); this will further reduce TA.
- Cold Stabilize - all winter, this will add a little more drop in TA.
- add BioLees somewhere along the line; this will increase mouthfeel and perception of sweetness.

You will be surprised how these steps will correct acidity without resorting to the more drastic Carbonate addition.

Good luck, I think your wine will turn out fine.
-



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